Striving to Make Spiritual Progress

During my devotional time, I try to learn about other spiritual healers that have accomplished incredible work in the past as well as study those who are doing amazing things for present day people. I don’t limit myself in studying just the ways of Christian healers, but of overall, God’s selected healers on earth. God speaks to all of us in different regions of the world in many ways.

Although my foundation is Christian, I don’t let the name limit the embrace and love I have for humanity nor of people from different religious beliefs. I embrace ALL and respect all. I study other people’s cultures, history, philosophy, theology and mannerisms. Its fascinating to see how much we all have in common. The language barrier among our races is just a reflection of the destruction and confusion in the Babylonian biblical story. However, I do feel that we are evolving into a more united species with the conception of the airplane and internet. I have hopes that one day we will all speak one language and have no color/race barrier among our people.

Today in my devotional studies, I learned of a woman called Teresa of Ávila (1515 – 1582) who wrote some amazing journals in her 20s. Two of her famous works are Interior Castle and Pilgrim’s Progress. In most of her literary works, she mostly speaks of the spiritual journey one must go through attended by obstacles and joys using illuminated allegory. In her writings, she cautions us not to fight temptations but rather “gently begin a time of prayer and recollection”. She states that little by little will prayer become a habit if we practice it consistently.

Teresa of Ávila’s writings overall reflect the scripture Titus 3:1-8 which states:

Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.

3At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.8This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

If I never experienced temptation, I would not have appreciated the greatness and goodness of God. The best way I can describe my theory on this matter is this: In order to know what love is, you must experience hate. Opposites in this world are needed in order to be able to fully experience God’s creation. This is the philosophical theory of duality.

There are five ways that we can keep ourselves in check from temptation everyday by using reason, faith, memory, will and understanding. Reason turns us away from sin because it allows us to analyze the cause and effect of our actions. It helps us to keep in check using the concept of karma. Faith turns us away from sin because it is the innermost feeling and belief that God will provide for us exactly what we need to learn and experience here on earth. Memory turns us away from sin because it allows us to retain those past experiences and learned lessons. It allows us to appreciate the good moments of life when we have been in tune with God. The Will keeps us from sin because it gives room for hope and change. And Understanding keeps us away from sin because it allows us to keep our spirit in sync with God and other human beings instead of making us feel separate.